InformationWeek asks "Will IT Departments Disappear By 2020?"
This question comes from Forrester Research which sees the commoditization of IT as eroding the base for the traditional IT function and roles.
As we move to cloud computing--apps and infrastructure, as well as continue the trend for outsourcing IT such as help desk, desk support, and more what will be left for the CIO and his or her team to do?
The article answers this question with another major trend--that of consumerization--"differentiating value and visibility among consumers and employees."
This is where IT can be highly strategic in serving those needs in the business that are truly unique and that enable them to be high performing and even outperform in the marketplace.
These ideas of commoditization and consumerization are anchored in Lawrence and Lorsch's business studies of integration and differentiation of organizations, where organizations need to find their ideal state for integration of subsystems--such as through cloud computing, data center integration, and shared services--and for differentiation, where organizations differentiate themselves to address the unique value they bring to their customers.
So even with commoditization of IT and integration of services, the IT function in organizations will not be going away, no more so than HR or Finance functions went away with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions.
The CIO and IT function will be able to leverage base enterprise services as commodities, but they will be expected more than ever to focus on and provide strategic solutions for their customers and give their organizations the real technology competitive advantage they are looking for and desperately need.
This is what distinguishes a real CIO--one that provides strategic leadership in being user-centric and coming up with customer-oriented solutions that are not available anyplace else--from those managers that only help to keep the IT lights on.
If you are not differentiating, you are not really engaging--so get out there with your customers and roll up your CIO sleeves. ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)